.NET Developments


January 21, 2008  2:36 PM

Custom password validators in .NET Framework 3.5

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

In its first incarnation, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) did not support custom validators with transport-level HTTP security. That changed with .NET Framework 3.5. But how do you make it happen?

In a recent blog entry, Phil Henning discusses use of Custom UserNamePassword Validators in .Net Framework 3.5. He notes that the scenario is only supported under self-hosted services.

Henning describes how to create a validator, as well as how to configure a service. By configuring your service using transport security and the Basic clientCredentialType, he notes, and authentication header will be protected by SSL.

January 18, 2008  9:01 AM

Tools for the .NET Developer redux

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

 “.NET developers cannot live on Visual Studio alone.” Thus we introduced our All-in-One Buying Guide: Tools for the .NET Developer to the world last summer.

We bring it up again for a couple reasons. First, we’re pretty darn proud of that line and embrace any excuse to recycle it. Second, and more important, we’ve been updating it regularly (every month, in fact), and it now offers information on more than 200 products.

Those monthly updates go by the equally clever title of Windows Developments. (When you’re hot, you’re hot.) The most recent version is here, and it includes products and plug-ins like Rhino Mocks, Oracle Data Access Components and OnTime 2008.

However, we are more proud of the All-in-One Buying Guide. For starters, as we said, it’s a big honkin’ list. In addition, it is divided into eight topics — or genres, for the literati in the crowd — so you can peruse product listings that are specifically tailored to your needs. Finally, with the official Visual Studio 2008 marketing launch coming up, we expect that Tools for the .NET Developer will start to fill with plenty of new components, debuggers and general tools that are compatible with VS 2008.

So go check out the All-in-One Buying Guide: Tools for the .NET Developer and let us know what you think. Are there any categories missing? Are some of the existing categories too vague? Heck, are there any products missing? (We should point out that we’ve only recently shed the “products” label and are now including some key open-source tools, so that explains some omissions — but by all means point those out to us.)

Thanks, as always, for the input.


January 17, 2008  12:09 PM

XUnit unit test framework ready for its close-up

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

James Newkirk – an original NUnit developer – and Brad Wilson recently shared some more of their work on the XUnit test framework. The download is available on the CodePlex site.

According to Ben Hall, blogger and Red Gate Software test engineer, the framework itself

is…built using .NET Framework 2.0, doesn’t require any installation (XCopy) which makes it great for storing in source control and includes a TestDriven.NET runner, ReSharper runner and a console runner for executing the tests.

Hall digs into the XUnit innards and says it has some really interesting concepts. He looks forward to V.1 and thereafter. One wonders, can XUnit ever win a place in developers’ hearts akin to NUnit?


January 17, 2008  9:52 AM

Ajax applications, not their developers, should scream and shout

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Ajax is cool, but the programming paradigm may be a bit overwhelming, particularly for those new to JavaScript, Web development or, gulp, both. Fortunately, Ajax remains relevant as it approaches its third birthday (hereby granting it AARP membership in the world of Web technologies), which means plenty of guidance is out there for the taking.

First we head to the independent site ASP.NET Resources, where Millan Negovan has updated his set of Microsoft Ajax Library Cheat Sheets. (The update coincides with the release of Visual Studio 2008, into which ASP.NET AJAX has been deliciously baked.)

Negovan is offering two new cheat sheets — one for the DomElement class and one for the DomEvent class. There are seven documents in all, and they can be downloaded from the blog entry above.

Next up is Kazi Manzur Rashid’s blog. This blogger has started what promises to be a lengthy tutorial series on the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit, which is Microsoft’s shared-source compilation of client-side controls that one can plug into ASP.NET AJAX application.

The first part of the series, which is being posted on DotNetSlackers, takes a closer look at two ASP.NET AJAX “input helper” controls — FilteredTextBox and NumericUpDown. Subsequent articles will touch upon additional input helper controls, as well as container and pop-up controls, the toolkit’s architecture and the basics of building a control for the toolkit.

Meanwhile, this InfoQ post dissects a presentation made back at MIX07 that focuses on improving ASP.NET AJAX application performance. It’s worthwhile reading for anyone who has struggled to make his or her Ajax apps “scream on the client,” as the presentation title put it.

Finally, the Shameless Plug Dept. has a few SearchWinDevelopment.com Learning Guides to recommend. These, admittedly, are, um, aged, so we can’t guarantee that every single link still works, but we nonetheless deem them worthy of your attention.

And that’s all we have to say about that.


January 16, 2008  1:51 PM

Poll: Are you using Visual Studio 2008 yet?

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

As New Hampshire proved, polls can be pretty darned meaningless. But they’re fun.

It is for that reason that we bring you a poll about Visual Studio 2008 adoption. The new IDE came out at the end of November, and we’re kinda curious about what kind of adoption rate it has seen so far.

So go take our completely unscientific Visual Studio 2008 poll, and feel free to leave a comment or two here. When, pardon the pun, the polls close, we’ll let you know how everything turned out. Thanks for your time and input.


January 16, 2008  12:24 PM

Looking for F# resources?

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

The folks in Microsoft Research have been trying out ideas in functional programming for quite a while. Not too long ago, Microsoft moved to begin to include aspects of F# in Visual Studio.

If you want a good starting point for a any F# research you may have considred, take a look at SearchWinDevelopment.com. The site has pulled together a valuable set of F# resources.

Functional programming emerged to some extent with the original version of Lisp. Its potential benefits include mathematical programming style and a strong type system. Microsoft’s interest in F# portends a general movement which could see ever more languages being supported by the CLR.


January 14, 2008  11:09 AM

Beefing up the .NET Developments blog roll

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

One of the things we’ve been meaning to do for quite some time now is beef up our blog roll. We started by featuring four blogs — WPF Reflections, Custom Application Development: Buy, Build or Ignore?, SOA Talk and the ITKE Community Blog — but realized it certainly doesn’t hurt to add more. So, without further ado, here’s a little bit ’bout the blogs we have recently added.

Scott Guthrie — He’s responsible for Microsoft’s myriad of Web application development endeavors, including ASP.NET, IIS and Silverlight, he writes several posts a week, he answers just about all the questions readers ask, and he offers lots of downloads. ‘Nuff said.

Sara Ford — This blogger posts a daily tip to make life a little easier for those who spend several hours a day inside Visual Studio.

Visual Basic Team — This is the official blog for Microsoft’s Visual Basic development team. The group frequently points to tutorial videos, code samples and other resources. LINQ, not surprisingly, has been a big topic as of late.

Oren Eini — This Israeli developer, who goes by the blog name Ayende Rahein and is the author of Rhino Mocks, writes two or three times a day about programming methodologies, open-source tools for .NET and scads of other relevant topics.

Are there any .NET blogs you visit on a frequent basis? Do they fit into one of the many topics in the list at left? Let us know and we’ll add them to the blog roll forthwith.


January 11, 2008  12:55 PM

MFC library updates for Visual C++

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

A recent downloadable Visual C++ 2008 feature pack beta has power tools covering both the client and server sides of things.

The VC++ 2008 MFC libraries have been extended to help developers work with the Office Ribbon style interface. An updated set of GUI controls has been included and Visual Studio-style docking toolbars and panes are supported.

Meanwhile, the release pack includes an implementation of the TR1 (Technical Report 1) additions to the ISO 2003 standard C++ library. Included are new containers – including tuple, array and unordered sets – polymorphic function wrappers and much more.


January 9, 2008  1:29 PM

Gates offers preview of last day at the office

Brian Eastwood Profile: Brian Eastwood

Sister blog Overheard in the tech blogosphere is pointing to a rather clever video from Bill Gates’ keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this week. It’s a mockumentary of Gates’ last day as Microsoft Chairman — a day that includes playing Guitar Hero, rapping with Jay-Z, soliciting top Democrats for a Vice President nomination and trying to convince Bono to let him replace The Edge. Other celeb cameos include George Clooney, Jon Stewart and Brian Williams.

Check out the video here — and try not to daydream about your retirement just yet.


January 8, 2008  5:54 PM

IronRuby and Ruby.NET, or A Tale of Two Rubies

Yuval Shavit Profile: YuvalShavit

A pretty simple question (”How does IronRuby differ from Ruby.NET?’) turned into, naturally, a pretty complex chain of follow-up questions and then a series of conversations in the blogosphere. Ruby blogger Pat Eyler got the ball rolling, O’Reilly blogger  M. David Peterson picked it up, and Microsoft Ruby maven Jon Lam returned the serve.

The short version of how the two implementations differ is that Ruby.NET is built on top of CLR while IronRuby is built on top of the DLR, which is in turn an extension to the CLR. But that does leave open some room for controversy. The relative advantages of statically- and dynamically-languages come into play, as well as issues – often somewhat subjective – related to performance and interoperability. When the relative and the subjective meet, a good scrum may not be far behind.

As we were looking at these threads, word came from SapphireSteel’s Huw Collingbourne – no slouch as a Ruby blogger himself –  about a new Text Edition plug in for the developer looking to test out Ruby development within the Visual Studio suite. We asked Collingbourne for his take on the two Microsoft Rubies now brewing. There follow some excerpts.

Suffice to say that while Ruby .NET is currently in advance of IronRuby, we came to the decision to support IronRuby first and foremost… There are a number of reasons why we decided to get behind IronRuby – it’s partly to do with the technology (Microsoft’s DLR, Silverlight etc.) and partly just a sense that we feel John Lam and his team can push this forward in a way that will be more likely to attract the professional developer community. That said we could quite easily support Ruby .NET if we wished.

Incidentally, SapphireSteel’s most recent plug-in is interesting in another way. It is one of the early offerings hosted in the Visual Studio Shell. Collingbourne says Visual Studio Shell has finally given the Windows-oriented toolmaker a chance to compete aggressively with Eclipse-based IDEs.


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